Day One in San Francisco


Apropos of my first day back at work, some variations on a simple theme.

How strange to be back in a city I haven't worked in for more than two years.

"One cannot step in the same river twice," because both the person and the river have changed. Each has a stable identity, but neither has a fixed identity. Ultimately, they remain beyond our grasp.

Even the same old Caltrain has a new ticket format, ten percent of the capacity I used to see, and much nicer station bathrooms than I remember.

Everything flows.

— Heraclitus.

The Greek is panta rhei, but even though I learned Ancient Greek, it still sounds like the low-budget version of a manta ray.

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

— Jeff Bezos

I don't like corporate speak, but I like the sentiment. Day 1 is constant focus on what matters. Day 2 is complacenct satisfaction.

What will you do now? That's it.

Life is this moment. Death is fixation.

Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.

— Tao Te Ching 76 in the Stephen Mitchell translation, (via)

"Soft and supple" doesn't mean being jelly. It means being responsive to the moment. This is what Miyamoto Musashi meant by "In all things have no preference."

And because I just love the Zen spirit:

Your mind makes something, and something hinders you. So don’t make anything! Take your mind and throw it into the garbage. Only don’t know!

— Zen Master Seung Sahn, as quoted in Lions Roar

I'll write something more substantial in the days to come.